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Legal action against Amazon

June 27, 2023 — BarryK

In late 2022, I posted that I canceled my Amazon account:

I had an awful experience, getting signed up with Prime membership without realizing, and then unable to cancel it. Well, it turns out that I am not the only one experiencing that difficulty with Prime:

In my blog post, I mentioned that I purchased books from Book Depository instead. Then Jon informed me that Book Depository had been purchased by Amazon. It still operated independently though, so I bought from them.

Guess what, Amazon has now, April 2023, closed down Book Depository. Doesn't this seem like a familiar scenario?    

Tags: ethos

The Voice referendum in Australia

June 01, 2023 — BarryK

There will be a national referendum in Australia later this year, for a change to the Australian Constitution, to formerly recognize the prior inhabitants of this land.

They used to be known as Aboriginals, now they are "First Nations" people in the media. The Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) is pro-Voice, despite supposing to be impartial, at least that's how they come across to me. The current Australian Federal Government is putting up information that is also pro-Voice, again, that's how it seems to me. Here is the Govt info site:

The Federal Government is supposed to be impartial also, putting up both for and against arguments.

I have been following the news, and amid all the enthusiasm for giving the First Nations people more of a say in our government, there have been doubts in my mind. One of the doubts is this...

Shouldn't we be heading toward equality for all? Why are we permanently enshrining 2% of the population as "special", with more input to the government than the other 98%? Isn't that putting in place a permanent division by race?

I think that doubt is a reasonable one, and it needs to be answered by proponents of the Voice.

Andrew Bolt (Sky News) has raised concerns:

Andrew Bolt is worried about the power that the advisory body will have. He also asks, why do we need a constitutional change to establish a First Nations body that advises government?

I don't like Sky News, but in this case it seems that legitimate concerns have been raised, that need to be answered.

The actual change to the Constitution is here, it looks harmless enough:

...very vague, open-ended. I'm just an ordinary person, have no idea what the legal and governmental ramifications will be. But, I still find myself asking, why do we have to make a change to the Constitution to establish a First Nations advisory group?

And there is still that previous-mentioned doubt; why should we permanently enshrine 2% of the population as special?

Then there is the issue of defining who is, or is not, Aboriginal? There are very few full-blood Aboriginals. Could someone who has a Great-Great-Great-Grandmother who was Aboriginal, suddenly realize their aboriginality and get into that 2%?

I haven't decided which way I'm going to vote yet. Well, if I had to vote tomorrow it would be "No", but will listen to more arguments in favour of "Yes".

I would like to append some personal thoughts to this blog post. Perhaps I am too idealistic, but I would like to see a future for Australia where everyone is equal. When I walk down the street, whoever I see, I see them as equal to me. Just another Aussie citizen, like me.

I don't like the tendency of people toward division. We see it all over the world, some ethnic, cultural or religious group wanting to split off in some way from the country they are in.

As I say, I am perhaps too much of an idealist. It would be nice if countries become more unified internally, but in the news I see all over the world the opposite happening. It depresses me.

If I can be convinced that the Voice is a step toward unity, despite how it currently seems, then great.    

Tags: ethos

Electric vehicle reality check

December 22, 2022 — BarryK

Some of our State Governments in Australia have decreed that all new vehicles sold from 2030-2040 must be battery-powered -- even hybrid vehicles are out. link

I was reading recently, a guy said that owning an electric vehicle without a power-point to plug it into at night, is hell. This situation would cover a lot of people; those who live in apartments with parking bays and no power, and those who have to park in the street.

What those people have to do is try and find a charging station while driving to or from work. If work is a fairly long commute, that could mean recharging every trip or second round-trip.

As electric vehicle uptake increases, it will probably mean a wait in a queue to recharge. Then there are charging stations that are broken, which currently here in Western Australia is depressingly frequent.

Once at the head of the queue, if it is a fast-charger, good, except that every time you fast-charge, the battery range decreases. It decreases more and more, so you have to fast-charge more frequently.

Then there's the running cost. This is touted as one of the advantages of electric vehicles; however, read this article from our local newspaper, "The West Australian", Saturday, December 17, 2022:


As the article points out, one of the charging stations was free, so actually, the electric vehicle cost more for the 1,400km (870 miles) trip.

Then there's the convenience. The Audi did almost the entire trip on one tank of diesel. The Kia required frequent long stops, and the range penalty of fast charging is mentioned.

In the news awhile back, there was a case of an electric vehicle running out of power on a rural road. The car had to be towed to the nearest charging station. Until there are portable charging stations, towing is the only option.

I reckon that as 2030-2040 (whatever the deadline will be in your State) approaches, there will be exceptions to the all-electric law, for those who have to drive in remote rural regions.

Might be a good idea to own a petroleum-powered engine before the deadline, as it's value is likely to go steadily upward afterward -- unless the Govt introduces disincentives to own or drive a non-electric vehicle.    

Tags: ethos

Have cancelled Amazon account

October 01, 2022 — BarryK

I have had an account with Amazon for a very long time, but cancelled it yesterday.

Over the years, I have sometimes bought books from them. I used to login to but after they setup in Australia, I logged into

A few days ago, I attempted to order some books, and although I looked very carefully, at the final checkout the books were to be shipped by "prime shipping". In the past, I have shipped by "standard shipping", but this time, although I looked very carefully, there was no choice.

I did not complete the order. A little while later, received an email welcoming me to Amazon Prime.

I logged back into Amazon and cancelled Prime membership. I then waited 24 hours, to be sure that the cancellation had gone through. Deleted all Amazon-related history in the browser, then logged in and again attempted to order some books. This time I watched very very carefully, and I was not offered anywhere to choose standard shipping.

Just before final checkout, I did not take that step, as I knew from before that it would have signed me up to Prime again. Instead, I deleted the items in the tray, then cancelled my Amazon account.

Instead, I have ordered a book from these guys:

...they accept PayPal, unlike Amazon, who require to pay with credit card. PayPal is my much preferred method of payment. Book Depository has a warehouse in Australia, though I don't know if my book is coming from there or the UK.

EDIT 2022-10-02:
Jon (scsijon in the forum) has informed me that The Book Depository was bought out by Amazon in 2011.
Ha ha, anyway, it doesn't matter, they seem to still be operating independently, not pushing any kind of "prime" membership. And, it is great that they accept PayPal.

Tags: ethos

A message from Arnie about the war in Ukraine

March 19, 2022 — BarryK

Arnold Schwarzenegger has posted this nine-minute video on Twitter:

Great video Arnie!    

Tags: ethos

The sad history of Ukraine

March 12, 2022 — BarryK

I posted recently about my step-mother's escape from Hungary in 1956:

A couple of days ago, I read a post by a Russian person in a forum, in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The post had some truths, some half-truths, and some complete untruths.

What is particularly sad is the truths in that person's forum post. As an example that the Western countries cannot claim to be on the "moral high ground", he referred to the great lie of "weapons of mass destruction" used as an excuse to invade Iraq. Yes, I have posted about that:

Going back further, another example of the "moral low ground", the carpet-bombing of North Vietnam and the spraying of Agent Orange:

One thing that astounded me after the invasion of Iraq, was that George W. Bush got re-elected! That was a huge lesson to me.

So, Putin's "spin" to justify invading Ukraine, and manipulating the Russian media, nothing new here.

I won't post a link to that forum posted by the Russian person, as I don't want to target any individual.

In The West Australian newspaper today, Saturday 12 March, 2022, in the Letters to the Editor, page 145:


I knew nothing about this "Holodomor". Is that true? I did some research, and ascertained that it is true, Stalin ordered the deliberate starvation of millions of Ukrainians. Here is one reference:

Crystal-ball gazing, trying to think of possible futures, none of it looks good. Is Moldova next on the invasion-list? Finland, if it chooses to join Nato?

What about Turkey, just about economically bankrupt, will it re-orient itself away from Nato, toward Russia? In return for very cheap or free oil. That will mean the end of Georgia, as it blocks land access between Russia and Turkey. Ha ha, this is wild speculation, take no notice of this paragraph!

I suppose the "best" outcome will be that the war in Ukraine just festers, no major escalation, and the attention of the world moves on. Not a good outcome, but unfortunately a likely one.    

I really should not indulge in political posts! Back off Barry, get back to EasyOS development!   

Tags: ethos

A sad time for Europe

March 02, 2022 — BarryK

We are daily seeing the brutal attack on Ukraine, on TV and the Internet and newspapers -- except you won't be seeing this, or rather you will be seeing a censored version of events, if you live in certain countries that control the media.

These events have reminded me of my step-mother's escape from Hungary, in 1956. She was a young single woman, age 23, and she and her sister had employment working in a clothing manufacturing factory in Budapest.

One day she was waiting in a queue to use a public telephone, when suddenly a fight erupted between Hungarian freedom fighters and Russian soldiers. A stray bullet hit my step-mother in the stomach.

She was taken to a hospital, and operated on. Russian soldiers came to the hospital, looking for anyone who had been admitted with gunshot wounds. They walked around the wards, and the Doctor told them she had just been operated on for appendicitis -- fortunately, the wound was just in that same place.

However, the soldiers looked at admittance documentation, and saw her name and admitted with a gunshot wound. The hospital authorities were able to warn her that the soldiers had looked at the records and had her name and home address.

She and her sister packed their few belongings and left. They walked for many days, in extreme cold, mostly hiding during the day. They crossed the border, I think it was Austria, but didn't realise they were over the border, and when they saw a soldier in the fog, who shouted at them, they thought that was the end -- but it was a US soldier.

They had a relative in Australia and were sponsored to come here, She arrived with nothing, just a suitcase with a pullover and toothbrush in it, and not understanding a word of English.

She is now 88. One of my sisters has recorded her adventure on a audio cassette tape.

Just an observation...

I know it is a very different situation, but I cannot help but notice the similarity of two authoritarian regimes in Europe and Asia when WW II started. Germany in Europe, Japan in Asia. Now we have Russia and China.   

Tags: ethos

Swollen lymph nodes after Covid booster

January 25, 2022 — BarryK

This is an interesting read:

...the doctor quoted in the article alternates his arms for each shot. Very interesting.

There is a lot that happens in life that puzzles me. For example, the Australian authorities do not recognize "natural immunity" of someone who has already caught Covid-19. Instead, they are insisting everyone has to be vaccinated.

There was recently a very high-profile case, a tennis star was issued with a visa to enter Australia, but it was revoked when he arrived at an Australian airport, and he was deported. He had, apparently, cought Covid-19 twice before, but they did not recognise that and made a big fuss about him being unvaccinated.

There is a lot that happens, that the authorities are insisting on, that I don't think is justified, or is not entirely rational. Our State Government for example, insisting that everyone has to have the new SecureWA app on their phone.

Ha ha, better stop now.  

Tags: ethos